Be sure to beat the heat

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How hot is it? You shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time outside trying to figure out. And that’s no joke.

The high temperatures and humidity expected over the next few days have prompted the National Weather Service in Calera to issue an excessive heat warning until 7 p.m. on Wednesday. An excessive heat warning is more severe than a heat advisory, which should tell you to be extra careful.

High temperatures will most likely exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heat index, a gauge of how hot it feels, may reach as high as 115 degrees.

Following the warning, a heat advisory will be issued until 7 p.m. Thursday, the NWS also announced.

There are three rules everyone should follow in extreme heat. First of all, spend as little time outdoors as possible. If you must be outside, try to stay under a shade whenever possible.

Secondly, drink plenty of fluids. Keeping your body hydrated is essential all year long, but it becomes even more vital in the extreme summer heat.

Third, check up on your neighbors, family members and pets. Do this especially if you know someone who lives alone, and remember that children and the elderly are always the most vulnerable.

If you know someone without air conditioning and happen to have an extra fan or aid conditioner to lend or donate, your generosity would no doubt be appreciated. You could even purchase one for someone who cannot afford it. This would make an excellent missions project for a church or civic group.

At the same time, no one should underestimate the heat. No one, no matter how healthy or how young, is immune to heat stroke.

Everyone should be familiar with the symptoms of heat stroke, which include high body temperature, red and dry skin, a rapid and strong pulse, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness.

If you encounter a heat-related emergency, don’t hesitate to call 911.